Once upon a time monarchs ruled by divine right, then later with charismatic authority. The future king Prince Charles (#NotMyPrince) has neither. Yet Caribbean governments are paying for Prince Charles and Camilla’s royal tour of the Caribbean which began on Sunday and continues for 12 days, to “celebrate the monarchy’s relationship with these Commonwealth realms”.
Charles, future head of the Commonwealth, needs this visit. But what does the Caribbean get in return? Caribbean countries are footing the majority of the bill, while he is paid to persuade us of the harmonious ties between Britain and the Caribbean. This function stems from his inherited role of embodying imperial legacy. But why should Caribbean governments facilitate this performance?
Paul - Gilroy - Crude - Injustices - Slavery
To quote the academic Paul Gilroy, “Without the crude injustices of racial slavery we are required to know even more comprehensively than in the past precisely what we are against and why.” In the not too distant past, West Indian schoolchildren were taught that Britain was the mother country and the royal family was to be revered. This identification with Britain was encouraged during the first and second world wars despite the persistent racial hierarchies of empire. For example, Jamaican soldiers on their way to the battlefront during the first world war were caught in a blizzard off the coast of Halifax. Research shows that imperial authorities denied permission to the Jamaican soldiers to come ashore. As a result, many suffered frostbite and had their limbs amputated. Despite their willingness to fight and potentially die for the crown, black Caribbean people were not recognised as equals.
Even after decolonisation, several independent countries did not sever ties with the crown, and those that did remained convinced of the benefits of voluntary association through the Commonwealth. The rituals of the royal tour in the post-colonial period exploited this notion...
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